Bethesda, MD — Nearly 300 contracted janitors who clean and maintain the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center have ratified a new contract that maintains their employer’s contributions into the workers’ pension fund. A week ago, workers voted to authorize a strike to protest Ace Janitorial Services’ previous proposal to undermine retirement security for cleaners, many of whom have worked at Walter Reed for decades.
“Protecting the health and safety of our nation’s veterans is a job we take very seriously,” said Helen Ávalos, a janitor at Walter Reed. “We are happy to put this ordeal behind us knowing that we can someday retire with dignity.”
32BJ of the Service Employees International Union reached the agreement with janitorial services subcontractor Ace before the contract’s expiration on September 30, 2016.
“This contract maintains high standards for patients at Walter Reed and ensures that janitors will be able to make ends meet when they retire,” said 32BJ SEIU Vice President, Jaime Contreras.”
With more than 155,000 members in 11 states, including 17,000 in the D.C. Metropolitan Area, 32BJ SEIU is the largest property service workers union in the country.